Tenants evacuated from N.B. apartments forced to relocate to new emergency shelter
Tenants that were forced to evacuate an apartment building in Miramichi have now been forced to move out of their temporary emergency shelter due to another booking.
Last Wednesday, about 50 people were given four hours to leave the three-storey apartment building on Cole Crescent after it was deemed unsafe by the fire marshal’s office.
Fire investigators were looking into a complaint when they found that drywall had been removed from hallway ceilings and some walls while the building undergoes a major renovation. That exposed electrical wires, which fire investigators said could spread quickly through the open ceiling cavities.
The Canadian Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the Golden Hawk Gym, where some tenants had been living since Wednesday.
But the facility couldn’t accommodate the tenants past 2 p.m. Sunday, which left officials scrambling to find alternative accommodations.
“I think we’ve called every church, community group, and anyone else in the community who might have a venue and I’m glad to say that the shelter is going to be relocating to a local high school,” said Miramichi Mayor Adam Lordon.
Tenants have now moved to James M. Hill Memorial High School, which is located roughly five minutes from the condemned apartment building.
“I think they’ll be well-equipped there and my understanding is that this will be the only move required until, of course, people are moving hopefully back into their homes, or to other long-term accommodation,” said Lordon.
Miramichi MLA Michelle Conroy says the displacement of the tenants has opened her eyes to the lack of services available to the city and its residents.
“It really enlightened the fact that there’s a huge gap in the system, and that if something were to happen, we have no emergency measures,” said Conroy.
As for the apartment building, it’s uncertain when the tenants will be allowed to move back in. They were allowed back in the building on Sunday to gather some of their belongings, but tenant Steve MacDonald says that wasn’t much help.
“A lot of us can only carry so much, I mean, especially with not knowing where we’re going to be going come one day to the next,” he said.
While a date hasn’t been set, MacDonald doesn’t expect to be back in his apartment for another few weeks.
“I can’t imagine it being any quicker than a few weeks anyway, so I think a lot of us are going to have to start looking elsewhere,” he said.
The landlord previously told CTV Atlantic that he hoped to complete the renovations soon.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Eilish Bonang